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The Artist Is Present: Williams Chechet Utilizes Pop Art To Remind You To Know Your History

Meet the Nigerian multi-hyphenate creative whose work speaks for itself—check it out with OkayAfrica.

Williams Chechet is a multi-talented pop artist, graphic designer, illustrator and muralist who's one to watch. The Nigerian creative is influenced by his culture, history, afrofuturism, afrobeats and hip hop—and this screams at you when looking at his body of explosive work.

He seamlessly speaks through his vibrant visuals. Chechet's past work and due props include a series centered around leaders in Nigeria, a renowned celebration of heritage called We are the North on Northern Nigeria, a CNN Africa feature, a mural for Hard Rock Cafe Lagos, live art on MTV Base, album covers for M.I., Jesse Jagz, Ice Prince, clothing with Pop Caven and an American streetwear brand we can't disclose just yet. More recently, he's collaborated with Cameroonian pop artist Fred Ebami on an icon series.


"Disconnect" from Willams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

Born in Kano, raised in Kaduna and schooled in the eastern part of Nigeria, Chechet has moved around quite a bit. One thing has remained true no matter where he's been: art has always been a major part of his life. His story is a testament to the importance of being lead by your passion—he's been drawing since he was a kid. After reluctantly studying building engineering for 3 years, he switched gears and started anew with industrial and graphic design. He recounts schooling for a total of 9 years. While in school, he received a call from M.I. to design an album cover and this would be the beginning of his relationship with Chocolate City Records as a resident freelance artist. The opportunity would open many doors.

Today, he excels in a Nigeria where he doesn't always have the right tools to print or art materials to use. He excels on a continent where people have only recently started revering the creative industry. He reminds his viewers the importance of knowing their history and introduces Africa to the world by shedding light on his home. He states it is important to, "Hold on to Africa while embracing the West."

His creative process is one rooted in not planning things out. Like many artists, Chechet is often triggered by images. He's studied the work of Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kaus, Shepard Fairey, Ben Enwonwu and Lemi Ghariokwu. He intensely views the world around him. "Inspiration meets you when you are in the process of creating," he says.

The sky is truly the limit for this artist. He has desires to explore sculpture and photography and is set to exhibit in Marrakech and has a solo show in the works later this year.

His buoyant work is sure to draw you in as it has done for much of Nigeria—check it out below.

"Hadassah" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Adamu's Weekend" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"BillioNaire" from Williams Chechet's "Royal Niger Company" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Ham" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"16th" from Williams Chechet's "Royal Niger Company" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Excellence" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"PoP from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

"Rouge" from Williams Chechet's "We Are The North" series. Image courtesy of artist.

Audrey Lang is an alumna of Northeastern University and a Boston-based site merchandiser. A surveyor of life who's enamored with all things fashion, art and Africa, keep up with her on Instagram and Tumblr.

Interview

Interview: TOBi Is Making Unapologetic Soul Music

We talk to the Nigerian-Canadian artist about his latest project ELEMENTS, his creative process, mental health and more.

It's a big year for music, and in the midst of many good drops from the motherland and beyond, we caught up with Nigerian-Canadian singer/songwriter TOBi to discuss his recently released 10-track project ELEMENTS.

ELEMENTS is a fusion of old-school soul, contemporary rap sequences, clever lyrical symbols & metaphors. and melancholic vibes which reference TOBi's Nigerian heritage through afrobeats, the reality of his life and the state of the world today. The compilation features production from Nigerian producer Juls on "Dollas and Cents" and "Made Me Everything and Shine."

Below, we also discuss his creative process and passion for mental health with the announcement of an exciting collaboration. "I'm attracted and curious about so many things in life that I can't help but bring [them] into my world and craft," the multi-genre artist says.

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Comedian Munya Chawawa Signs Major Deal with Atlantic Records

Zimbabwean-born, UK-based comedian Munya Chawawa, known for his hilarious online skits, has recently signed a lucrative deal with Atlantic Records.